Run to your assigned session, get some good quotes from panelists, carry out other interviews, meet the deadline! In the process, strengthen your skills, learn about freedom of expression around the world, chat with big players advocating for this right, make new friends! Such was the experience of the young reporters that were especially invited to cover the World Press Freedom Day International Conference at UNESCO’s Headquarters in Paris on 5 and 6 May 2014, in an activity benefitting from EU funding under the NET-MED Youth Project.
This was the third year in which a Youth Newsroom was set up during the global celebration of World Press Freedom Day, and it was the biggest one yet! Thirty-three young journalism students and recent graduates from fourteen countries participated, taking photos, writing articles, producing audiovisual material and podcasts in English, French and Arabic, focusing on this year´s WPFD theme “Media Freedom for a Better Future: Shaping the post-2015 Development Agenda”.
“We are working as reporters for everybody, for the same conference, and for our partners back home, to tell them about the conference… I like the newsroom, because of the new friendship built with my colleagues, who are part of the same team… and I like the idea of keeping in touch,” said Mazen, from Palestine.
For Dimitri (France), the most interesting thing was interviewing, and being among really important people and journalists. “It was like being a child at Christmas time. It was awesome, it was really awesome,” he said.
The École Supérieure de Journalisme de Paris was the host school of this year´s WPFD Youth Newsroom, which was organized in partnership with the World Editors Forum/World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), the Doha Centre for Media Freedom, the American University of Sharjah and the University of Oregon.
The organization of the 2014 WPFD Youth Newsroom was made possible thanks to funding from European Union, under the Networks of Mediterranean Youth Project (NET-MED Youth) which, among other objectives, promotes young men and women’s freedom of expression and representation in media in 10 countries of the eastern and western Basins of the Mediterranean Sea. The project seeks to facilitate the involvement of young men and women in media production, reinforce capacities and facilitate South-South and North-South interaction and exchange among young journalists.
“I like the fact that I can meet journalists from all around the world… and to work all together and talk about the liberty and security of journalists… it is my first experience in an international meeting, and I really enjoyed it,” declared Djamila, from Algeria. Emily, from Australia, enjoyed the practical component of the UNESCO Youth Newsroom, working to real deadlines and functioning in a sort of real-time newsroom. “I liked meeting people from around the world, who share the same passion of journalism as me; and I´m learning different skills from them,” she added.
The concept of the WPFD Youth Newsroom is aligned with the priority that UNESCO places in mainstreaming youth into media work, considering their emergence as mass communicators, both on-line and off -line, as relevant stakeholders in freedom of expression and its uses. Their participation in the commemoration of World Press Freedom Day was particularly relevant in light of this year’s theme, given the critical role of youth in the post-2015 development agenda and considering how media can help catalyze it, for example by underpinning their contribution to decision-making and democratic consolidation (as reflected in UNESCO’s Operational Strategy on Youth 2014-2021).
Check out the 2014 WPFD Youth Newsroom homepage to access the material produced by the young participating reporters!